Most people associate migraine headaches with intense throbbing head pain lasting several hours to days, and sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, vertigo and sensitivity to lights, scents and sounds. Migraines are actually the result of increased electrical activity in the brain. Neurologically, they uniquely affect sensory perception and motor control of the body and can include a variety of symptoms that may or may not even include a headache.
So what are some common stresses that trigger migraine headaches?
- Neurological stresses like excessive sensory stimulation from glare from the sun, loud noises, certain scents (whether pleasant or unpleasant), neck or head traumas, infections, intense physical exertion and chronic poor posture. For Calgarians in particular, are prone to headaches when their body can’t adapt to the pressure changes from the Chinook winds.
- Chemical stresses include food triggers like red wine, caffeine, aged cheeses, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), dyes, pickled or fermented foods and nitrates found in deli meats. Skipping meals, fasting and hormone fluctuations may also cause migraines as do certain medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), codeine, hydrocodone and birth control medications, just to name a few.
- Emotional Stress – Did you know over 90 percent of all chronic health challenges including cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancer, hormone imbalances, weight problems, accelerated aging, diabetes and neuro-degenerative diseases, are all related to the inability to deal with stress? Both getting too much or too little sleep can also trigger migraines.